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Melissa Harris- Perry

News/Business. Melissa Harris-Perry. Analysis and discussion surrounding political, cultural and community issues. New.

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Us 21, America 14, Washington 13, California 10, Michigan 8, Obama 5, Nancy Pelosi 4, Citi 4, Colorado 4, Jake 3, New York 3, Carmen Wong Ulrich 3, Garth 3, U.s. 3, Portugal 3, Kayla Mccabe 2, Unitedhealthcare 2, Ziggy 2, U.n. 2, Heather Paulson 2,
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  MSNBC    Melissa Harris- Perry    News/Business. Melissa Harris-Perry. Analysis and  
   discussion surrounding political, cultural and community issues. New.  

    December 8, 2012
    7:00 - 9:00am PST  

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>> this morning, my question, which americans are going over the cliff without a safety net. plus, how washington state is stirring the pot. sex education with tony award-winning playwright, eve insler beware, our fiscal policy is under attack from amoral
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cybords. good morning, my fellow americans. i'm melissa harris perry coming to you from the msnbc studios at rockefeller center in new york city. i interrupt our program to bring you the following news. cyboergs are among us. new recording that is uncovered the extent to which these artificial entities have taken over our country. right before our eyes, they have been taking over all of our nation's institutions, slowly extending their control over our political, legal, and economic systems with their insatiable appetite for profits and prophets alone. these amoral immortals are decimating the rights of us. they are not criminals but they can live forever.
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even when they take a death blow, a quick cash infusion can keep them going. you may not notice them yet. soon, they will amass every single asset capable of generating hefty returns. these undead are recreating our civic and political culture in service of politics and policies that serves their voracious desire for capital. >> how do these automatoniic corps corps corpses disguise their altered state. they have taken the place of average companies. >> corporations are people. it goes to people. >> taking human form and speaking in plain english, these corporate creatures have systematically shifted the cost of doing business on to the consumer and the taxpayer. with unfettered power to consume, the corporation has been pilfering our paychecks,
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feasting on subsidies and tact breaks. legalees are all that stands in the way of their total control. we live in their society. one governed by privatized moxcy. my claims are a little exaggerated. if you are reading between the lines, you can see the outline of this auto dmatonic takeover. the back and forth fiscal cliff on capitol hill has sounded more like a washington stage production of war of the world's. the myan calendar may have been correct after all. right on time, congressional republicans are crafting a doomsday scenario for the fiscal cliff. it would allow a vote on extending only the bush middle class tax cuts and nothing elseings, effectively slamming the ball into the president's court for a new year's showdown on the debt ceiling.
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no compromise on extending unemployment or altering the tax code for those loopholes or raising fed reral revenues. politicians are allowed to thrive off of our democratic life blood. what is missing in light of this january 1st manufactured deadline? any talk of the very real physical foibles in our country. we have chosen to ignore the ways policies have created a governor for and by the entity. when republicans or democrats asked for top earners to pay their fair share, both sides are still ignoring it sources of the fiscal crisis. when so many americans do not make a living wage, the economy cannot recover nor can our
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budgets be balanced. so many more of us are being forced to rely on a fiscal floor that only our federal government is now capable of providing, running up our federal debt and demanding increasing government spending that no fiscal crisis deal will address. in his book, the fine print, my guest today, author, david k. johnston explains, no other modern country gives corporations the unfettered power found in america to gouge customers, short change workers and elect barriers to fair play. that is the very real fiscal lif that american consumers and workers are standing at the precipice of. with me is syracuse university law professor and pulitzer prize investigative reporter, david johnson, who provides details on how big corporations use plain english to rob you blind. in his book, "the fine print." loretta sanchez, carmin
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wong-ulrich, and matt welch. so nice to have you all at the table. >> good morning. >> thank you. good morning. david, i stole that cyborg a bit from your text. i thought it was useful. if we are going to call them people, the kind of people they are is not immoral but amoral, interested only in profits but willing to work with the law but in a ray that erodes what our capacities are. play that out for me. >> society is defined by its rules. what we have been doing quietly and without the news media covering it is rewriting the rules. the rules of competition are being thwarted or repealed. everyone in america has had a legal right to the telephone. you have to pay for it. that's been repealed in six.
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they can say, sorry, we are not going to serve you. >> i think the language has been about this $2,000. if we go over the fiscal cliff, you are going to have a $2,000 increase in taxes for the average household. i want to look at what the inflated prices we are currently paying for things like our 401(k)s, our bank fees, our electric utilities, our state and local taxes. they add up to $2,390. we are paying it to corporations that are making big profits. >> one of the key things corporations have been doing is finding ways to privatize redistribution upward, it is not trickled down which was invented
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to deride reaganism but it is amazon or niagara up. the single biggest trend is corporations pocketing taxes so they never get to the government. there are 2700 companies, every big brand name company you have ever heard of, gets to keep some or all of the state income taxes with held from their workers paychecks. they don't know this. the company gets a tax credit equal to those taxes in a confidential document. all over the place, that's what's happening. our tax dollars are being diverted to corporations through gifts, through tax credits, through all sorts of different mechanisms. >> how do we get into a conversation where we can talk about these elements rather than this sort of manufactured crisis? >> here is the thing. in your book, you really draw it here, the fact that these businesses are built a lot on ignorance. i have to say, a lot of industries, including the financial industry, is built on the fact that you have a bunch of people that know their
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product and how to structure it so that regular folks don't know what's going on. i don't think people are ignorant. people are really, really smart. there is so much to know when you have a giant corporation coming in and basically structuring everything so they can take those bank fees that never used to be there anymore and all those other fees you outlined. with the fiscal crisis, it is a matter of understanding. when you look at the fiscal crisis, a lot of folks don't understand what's going on and how washington works. we have seen this blustering before when the stimulus bill was going through. we are going broke. we didn't go broke. things will be fine. understanding how all this works and that the cliff is not a cliff and that the deficit is not going to go up. it is actually going to go down. those things are very important to understand, here, to see through the prism and get what's going on. >> congresswoman, i feel like the part that was so helpful to me about david's text as i've been sort of trying to think through this fiscal cliff, we often hear from elected leaders about kitchen table politics. we saw the president go to the
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kitchen table this week. these sort of kitchen table economics of how we are paying to subsidize these corporations does not seem to be part of the conversation happening in washington. >> you have a lot of congress people, especially on the democratic side, who realize the true meaning of what each and every one of us is paying for. i'll give you an example. carolyn maloney, right here, of new york, she authored the credit card bill of rights. i know because i was her number two. we pushed very hard to get this bill through. now, it could have been a lot harder. it started out a lot stronger. there are the pressures from the credit card companies, banks and others are the financial industry, if you will, to push back. we had to find the votes to push something. but that's one of the reasons now you get your credit card bill and you have that little place where it says, if you pay the minimum payment of $25, whatever it is, it is going to
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take you 50 years to pay off your balance. on the other hand, if you pay $86 this month, it will take you three years. now, i've had a lot of my -- the people that i represent tell me that really tells me something. it's really helpful. it really tells me something. they were doing other things. if you had a balance of $1,000 on your credit card and they hiked that credit card rate from 15% to 20%, they would apply that 20% to the $1,000 you already had on there. you can no longer do that. you have to actively bring on more debt. at that percentage, you get to pay the old piece under that. i'm going to tell you, there was such pushback on that, it's amazing we got that through. there are people that understand all these hidden fees, all these little things. i mean, i don't have cable in my house. there is a reason for it. i don't watch it enough to pay that amount of money. >> they have got all of you out
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there in nerdland have cable in your louse. we have cable where my husband's home is. >> isn't that then the argument for regulation of business. on the other hand, we hear that if we had deregulation, we will have competition that will bring prices down. cable and telecommunications is the perfect example of how deregulation does not the bring prices down. you actually see an inflation of that. >> deregulation is most difficult in places that have natural, quote, unquote, monopolies. let's set that aside. deregulation of things like airlines where there wasn't any natural monopolies, is opposed, in almost every case, by the industry being deregulated, right? you get to lock in your profits. corportism is a bipartisan affair. 48 different states give money on all these kind of holidays to
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hollywood studios. we are broke, right? states are specially, state and local governments are broke. jennifer granholm is throwing subsidies out to people who are going to start movie studios in pontiac. no, it is not going to be a movie studio in pontiac. as soon as we get in the mind-set which are going to be making deals to get jobs, this is what helps to cause this kind of problem. with regulation in general, we think, to answer your question, if we just regulate this, we are going to reduce the influence of corporations being able to write and gain these regulations. unfortunately, it is a perpetual surprise to a lot of aggressives. the more you regulate, especially if the regulations are complicated or kick down a lot of decisions to future regulators like dodd/frank and obama care do, the more they are going to write those rules. >> stay right there. we have more on this, par particularly how states and localities are using these incentives and losing the tax dollars.
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if there is one thing that should give us reason to worry about our elected leaders, choosing to do the right thing, it can be summed up in two words, bob dole. that's next. wasn't my daughter's black bean soup spectacular? [ man thinking ] oh, this gas. those antacids aren't working. oh no, not that, not here! [ male announcer ] antacids don't relieve gas. gas-x is designed to relieve gas. gas-x. the gas xperts.
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on tuesday, congress delivered another sign they are not interested in mending their obstructionist ways. the senate was set to ratify the u.n. convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which has already been ratified about 126 countries worldwide and seeks to protect 700 million people with disabilities from discrimination. the convention was based on the landmark americans with disabilities act, which came to pass with the help of republican
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senator bob dole. the former senate majority leader was on hand to compel his fellow republicans to ratify the u.n. treaty. even an 89-year-old former colleague confined to a wheelchair couldn't unblock this party's entrance see yens. 66 votes were required to ratify the treaty. 38 u.s. senators, all republicans, found reasons to vote against it. they voted against a treaty that said people with disabilities need to be afforded the same right as other people. 38 senators voted no. yet these are the people we're expecting to do what is best for the country and find a compromise to avert the fiscal cliff. how's that going be working for us? next. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles
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there are a lot of things possible to put the revenue the president seeks on the table. none of it is going to be possible if the president insists on his position, insists on my way or the highway. that's not the way to get to an agreement that i think is important for the american people and very important for our economy. >> that was house speaker, john boehner, saying the same thing he has been saying for weeks and weeks. here we are, another week closer to that january 1st deadline and washington is stuck in the same political feedback loop with the speaker playing to the podium and the president playing to the people. here is president on thursday in a made for television photo op with that average middle class family in virginia. it is down to these two men. at the speaker's request, the deal will be hammered out without senate lead derts or
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congresswoman pelosi. they are fighting to try to reach a deal. i'm interested in this family that the president went and sat with, because the santana and massenberg family is an intergenerational family. they are saying it takes all four of us to raise the kids, all four of us to pay the bills. not only have we moved beyond a time when one income could support an american family. we are now at a point where four working adults are required. isn't this sort of the bigger issue than where we are on the fiscal cliff. >> if you are a family values person, how can you possibly support this low wage economy where we are pushing wages down and down. we now rank second in the world, in the modern world, only slightly better than south korea in the share of our workers with low wages. we have flooded the market with
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low wage workers. it is a very serious problem. >> this feels like where the social safety net is coming in. if we look at walmart workers, the quintessential sort of low wage workers, the state of california, congresswoman, ends up paying $86 million in basically social safety net, food subsidies and the floor that is not provided by walmart, the employer. isn't this the thing that we need to be having a conversation about? >> that's one of the reasons the republicans have such a problem with obama care, for example. we are talking about moving away from employer-based, in a sense, requirement of where you work for your safety net and really saying everybody should have it and, by the way, everybody is going to put in towards t a lot of employers are having a problem. for once, we are telling them, people need to be insured. it would have been better in my
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opinion if it wasn't health care insurance form. >> just health care reform. >> this is a route going down towards what we need, which is that all americans should have an ability to walk in at a very local arena and get a physical, get a checkup. if something is wrong with them, start down the road to improving their health. when we see that happen, i can't tell you how many businesses are scared to death of the fact that we are finally going to push back on them and say, you need to also take care of your employees. >> the better solution is to take it off the back of small business. my sons and i have a business. why are we spending any time dealing with people's health, their religion, their views of the world, their race is none of hour business, who they love is none of our business but their health care is. small business people know this is a terrible burden on them. let's get it off the books of business where it is inefficient and on to the books of -- that's
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what every other modern country has done. we spend $2.64 per capita for every dollar the other modern countries spend on health care. if we got to the level of the french, universal care, no out-of-pocket costs and probably the best system in the world, it would totally almost eliminate the individual income tax. that's how much we are wasting. >> the idea of entitlement, if you think about the fact that they are saying, these folks think they are entitled to health care, entitled to this and that and you are entitled to a 15% tax rate. that's a subsidy. that is its own form of welfare. you get to not be taxed. therefore, we lose billions of dollars but you want to make sure that people don't make the right wage or health insurance. it is okay that you are paying barely anything in taxes. >> not only entitled to a subsidy on the taxes but entitled to us subsidizing their
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low wages, enormous profits pulled from the labor value of workers and through food stamps an the provision, and medicare, we end up subsidizing these big corporations making big profits. >> let's go back to the small business thing. i do not want to leave on this table the fact that somehow small business is going to be detrimentally after feblged by obama care. >> how big is your small business? >> we only have two people, my sons, who are covered by the health care. >> if you are a two-person company, you are a small business person, obama care is not going to affect you in any way, other than the fact that you are going to be able to go to a small business and actually as an employer pick up some affordable health care for your employees or if you don't want to be involved, the individuals will go to the individual health care insurance place where they will purchase their own insurance but it will be at a level that will be -- that they will be able to afford. >> this is still baked into the
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system? it is the fatal flaw of the health industry in this country. it is the world war ii e.r.a. the employer has to do this because we couldn't increase wages back then. thats wa the link. we had an opportunity during the obama care discussions to break that once and for all so we could take our own health care from "a" to "b" to "c." >> i don't want to leave it out there that somehow small business is going to be adversely affected by this. it is going to be positive. >> very positive. >> the issue was that small business, small business right now is impacted by this overall tax structure which is benefiting the large corporations. >> their workers with wages, with lower wages because health care costs so much. >> is there any possibility of coming to a political agreement about these sort of more entrenched, deeper questions. you talked about the credit card, consumer protection act.
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>> not today or tomorrow. >> if you are going to make change, we didn't dig ourselves into this hole overnight. elizabeth katy stanton raising her children and susan b. anthony spent their entire lives before they got back the right for women to vote. this will take time. people have to work at it. of course, we can change. >> what most people don't realize is that think about how -- the amount of money political money that's been put against a person like nancy pelosi. now, nancy pelosi, you can say a lot of things but at the end of the day, nancy pelosi is an italian-american grandmother. she carries the values of exactly that. so when you saw -- okay, it wasn't perfect but when you saw obama care actually breakthrough and make it, it was because the burden was on nancy to pull it through. >> that's part of what makes me nervous, that nancy pelosi is
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not at the table. >> hello. that's why over and over and over, they have demonized her and over and over and over they have wanted to eliminate her. some even on the democratic side. why? because she is actually the values person in the room saying -- >> we are going to break now. as soon as we come back, i'm going to talk on another value that's getting demonized about the rights of workers to organize. my letter is next. this week, to the governor of michigan. why is the birth place of modern labor movements trying to kill unions when we come back. [ man thinking ] oh, this gas. those antacids aren't working. oh no, not that, not here! [ male announcer ] antacids don't relieve gas. gas-x is designed to relieve gas. gas-x. the gas xperts. he opened up jake's very private world. at first, jake's family thought they saved ziggy, but his connection with jake has been a lifesaver. for a love this strong, his family only feeds him iams.
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thor gets great rewards for his small business! your boa! [ garth ] thor's small business earns double miles on every purchase, every day! ahh, the new fabrics. put it on my spark card. ow. [ garth ] why settle for less? the spiked heels are working. wait! [ garth ] great businesses deserve great rewards. [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? [ cheers and applause ] washington's partisan's state mate has left the future of america's middle class hanging in the balance. in michigan, a republican-controlled government has had no problem pushing through a different kind of legislation that is threatening to erode one of the very
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foundations upon which the american middle class was built. just this week, michigan's house and senate passed right to work bills that would allow private and public sector workers to opt out of paying union fee ns s in organized work place. all is left is a signature of governor rick snyder, who has promised to sign the bill officially killing unions once it reaches his desk next week. this is why i am addressing my open letter to him, dear governor rick snyder, i have to tell you that your decision to pass right to work legislation has me feeling a little bit of deja vu. before this sudden change of heart, you previously discouraged your fellow republicans in michigan's legislature from advancing right to work law. it reminds me of your counterpart in the neighboring start on the other side of lake michigan. scott walker didn't make unions a big issue in his campaign. there he was last year leading
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the charge to strip wisconsin workers of their collective bargaining rights. what a bit of bait and switch isn't all that the two of you have in common, is it? your push to pass right to work in michigan was launched in partnership with the same guys who bankrolled governor walkers campaign to undermine workers rights, the koch brothers and their group americans for prosperity. they paid big-time into governor walker's campaign. as the saying goes, you have to give the devil his due. you are your own man. still time to make a different decision. this is michigan we are talking about. i know that 23 other states already have passed right to work laws but michigan is the birth place of the organized labor movement. is this the legacy you want to leave for the state that gave us the uaw and helped revive the u.s. auto industry. you said this new law is about freedom in the work place.
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that is only true if you mean the employers who are free from the checks and balances of the work ter workers they ploy. the freedom to support themselves and their families thanks to fair wages and employer-based health care and retirement benefits or the freedom for workers to have time to spend with their families thanks to the 40-hour workweek and paid holidays and family medical leave. all workers relates that we now take for granted but that we wouldn't have at all if it weren't for unions. that's why you are so off base with your claim that the right to work law would only affect the 17.5% of michigan workers that are still union members, because the rights that unions fight for are ultimately enjoyed by all workers, whether they have ever paid a cent of union dues or not. governor, you and i both know
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that when you weaken unions, you also weaken those rights like benefits and living wage that have been essential to the survival of the american middle class. you also know that right to work laws dekreecrease union workers. i urge you to not let michigan be among the states to add insult to injury. before you sign that bill next week, think again. sincerely, melissa. ♪ it's so important to make someone happy ♪ when you give a child a toy, it has to work. ♪ make just one someone happy and when it's a toys for tots child, well, what could be more important? so this year, every hasbro toy donated to toys for tots
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with his wife, danielle, almost every weekend. derrell hasn't been able to visit his mom back east in a long time. [ shirley ] things are sometimes a little tight around the house. i wasn't able to go to the wedding. [ emily jo ] since derrell couldn't get home, we decided to bring home to him and then just gave him a little bit of help finding his way. ♪ [ laughs ] [ applause ] i love you. i love you, too. for most americans, a fiscal cliff would be more of a slide. most of us will feel the impact
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gradually. for millions, the consequences will be immediate and severe. while the national unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%, the long-term unemployment numbers, those for whom finding wosh has been elusive for six months or more, now includes 4.8 million americans. those folks are at particular risk. that's because december 31st is also the expiration date for federal emergency unemployment insurance. the program passed into law in 2008 uses federal dollars to give extra weeks of jobless benefits to unemployed americans who have already passed the cutoff for their state benefits. if no deal is reached, 2.1 million people will see an immediate end to their federal -- to fall off the edge of that cliff without a net. >> back with me david k. johnson, sanchez and carmen wong ulrich and greg kaufman, a
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contributor for the nation. he has been one of the most consistent voices for poverty in america, regularly wlriting abot this on his weekly blog. this feels like for these 2 million people, it is a cliff. >> it absolutely is a cliff. first, i want to thank you for your weekly below the line segment. it is a real service. you were mentioning the 2 million people that will immediately lose benefits. by the end of the first quarter next year, another 1 million and if we don't renew the insurance program, unemployment insurance program, more than 5 million people next year will lose benefits. that's going to have a real impact from a poverty perspective. in 2002, unemployment insurance kept 3.2 million people from falling into poverty. last year, 2.3 million. part of the reason for that decline is, i'm sure the congresswoman knows, there was a provision that provided an extra
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$25 a week for people. that was not renewed. >> hundreds of thousands of children are part of that, right? >> that's right. 620,000 kids in 2011. if we don't renew the unemployment insurance program, you are going to see that impact in the numbers of people living in poverty in 2013. >> this is kind of the ultimate fiscal cliff situation. >> this is so much more terrifying to me than at the cut of anything else. here is the thing. even if you are one of those automatons who doesn't care about these people, on the other side of it, we are talking about the economy, participating in the economy. you take out $30 billion, which is the money that goes to these folks, you take that out of the economy, all that money gets spent instantly. if you remove that, you are going to in essence lose. that $30 billion turns into closer to $48 billion in terms of spending, keeping jobs, at not just their jobs but keeping the jobs of other workers.
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these folks are not sitting around. the jobs don't exist. they are not there. >> not only are they not sitting around. i love where we saw this new research that folks that are receiving unemployment benefits spend more hours per day. >> part of the requirement. >> looking for work than folks that don't do it. >> they will make more money if they can get a job. we don't have the jobs. we have 12 years of experience with the bush tax cuts. we've lost almost one year's wages over those 12 years compared to where we were if you adjust for inflation and the number of people since 2000. it has been an utter failure. we can't afford a little more taxes for people that have more than none but people out of work without children we are going to cut money out of their benefits. >> when we looked at average benefits collected by workers,
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we are looking at $291 a week, which for most of these families means not even half of their basic expenses are covered. this is just keeping people from being not just below the line but so far below the line. is this a place where democrats an republicans can come together in congress? >> i come from orange county $67892. $200 a month, that's average. if you were making a lot, your payment might be $400, $500. if you were barely making minimum wage, it would be $100. if you look at the high cost of housing in orange county, it doesn't cover anything. people are really struggling. here is the problem. we have extended and done this now in the last three or four years, i think, three times as i recall. i voted each and every time to help with this. each time it has become more and more difficult to find the
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votes. especially in the house of representatives. in the chamber where i work, the republicans control it. what most people don't realize is to a large extent, the person who controls house of representatives, it's a win or take all system, speaker boehner has to decide to bring this up, speaker boehner has to decide that a majority of his people will come on that vote. we democrats can certainly help. he is not going to bring something to the house floor where it's 200 democrats and 19 republicans and the rest of his republicans vote against it. that's against his own interest. he won't bespeaker very long. that's reality in which i work. the republicans, a majority of republicans in the house of representatives have got to believe in this. honestly, they don't. they don't. >> is there a way to get them to believe in it through the argument you make, carmen? >> i am almost certain we are not going to get them to believe
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in it with help poor people and help poor children. it is not to say republicans don't care about poor children. >> it is easy to turn it into welfare. >> this language of it stimulates the economy. poor families go and spend this money ond these automatons. >> look at what chris christie is trying to do. both cuomo in new york could ride all the way to the presidential nomination. getting at the infrastructure. let's hire people to do the work. anybody that goes to europe, they spend twice as much as we do on their infrastructure. our roads are falling apart. i had to pay the pothole tax and have my car realigned. we just had a railroad bridge collapse. our water mains are falling apart. we are going to have another johnstown flood sooner or later, more natural gas pipe explosions like the one we had in san bruno and other places. >> i hear you.
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i want to be careful we don't think unemployed workers are mostly 40-year-old able bodied men with the capacity to build rhode roads. >> it turns into $48 billion. it turns into a profit. >> as soon as we come back, more on exactly this. the truth about mascara is... it clumps. introducing a revolutionary new mascara. clump crusher...crusher. 200% more volume. zero clumps. new clump crusher from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl.
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>> we're talking about the possibility of federal long-term benefits coming to an end on january 3rd. >> who are the long-term unemployed? disproportionately older workers, over 50, women, and minorities. these benefits are a real life line to them. i talked to a girks richard crow, in eastern ohio, worked
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for a steel mill for 34 years. new ownership came in, 13 months later, they declared bankruptcy. he has applied since may for 157 jobs. steel mills are hiring 20-year-olds with no experience. he went to ups to apply for a job delivering packages. the woman looks at his resume and says, wow, you worked in the steel mill all your life. do you have any experience delivering packages. he said, i wanted to tell her once a year, when i dress up at santa. i spoke to another woman, 59-year-old african-american woman laid off from a senior assisted living facility. she gets $200 and something a week. she is worried she is going to be homeless. that happened to her in 2002. >> it isn't just women and
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minorities and older people. it really is older people. after 50, people really don't want to hire you. i do these and from the supermarket, sort of like the cabby thing. she actually learned it from us. i'm amazed. one time i went and i was in front of a vietnamese grocery store, largest vietnamese population outside of vietnam in my district. i get there at 9:00. i sent out notices, i'm going to be in front, come talk to me. there must have been, the first 30 people were anglo men. the first one says to me, i've been unemployed. i need you to vote to get the unemployment done. i said, yes, we're going to do that. he said -- i said, can you tell me, sir, where you come from? he goes, i'm a guitarmaker. orange county, guitar. we have three or four. all of them have closed down. i kind of looked at him. he said, i'm a craftsman.
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i'm a guitarmaker. i've worked for three. everybody is closed down. i looked a. at him and kind of said, you know, in a recession, that's a luxury item, a guitar. he said i have applied for anything and everything. he said, if this runs out, i still have to feed my family, wife and three children. even if i have to go and steal food or do something, that's what you do for your family. >> i want to ask you a little bit on this question. before, with he were talking about states giving away big tax breaks for so-called to attract business. part of what's going on with the federal unemployment insurance is this relationship between feds and states. >> indeed. the state and local governments are now giving away $1,000 per year for every family of four. this is a massive redistribution program. let's not forget that in 2010, the republicans won control of
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the house when they said we're all about jobs. all we're focused on is jobs. really, i haven't seen any evidence of that whatsoever. what we need is a massive jobs program. two, if we don't get it in the next two years, in two years, hopefully, we will have a congress that will say, we have work to be done. we don't want people to be idle. minds are a terrible thing to waste and so is labor. we need to put people to work. we shouldn't be at the same time making these giveaways. a lot of these giveaways are designed to destroy unions. >> i want to be clear. these are giveaways to the corporations. they are not giveaways to the workers. voted 2-1 in 1846. in 1874, 1938 and 1967. we are giving $1.4 billion to the ruler of abu dhabi. how does the new york supreme court justice justify this? the state can't make a gift but if it creates an agency, it can
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give it away. if you are a drug dealer and don't touch the drugs, you can get away with it. >> this is precisely the point. who we are subsidizing are not the poor families or the unemployed workers. >> your argument and what your talking about heerks we need a stimulus, if anything, for jobs. we have a couple of million people who have been out of work for a year, millions more out of work for six months. they are the last people that are getting hired. they are not just sitting there. the jobs don't exist. economic policy institute. still, only one job for three people. break that down to one job for two people if you want to be a little cynical. if you don't create the job, we can't get rid of this problem. these folks fall off that cliff. >> thank you to david cay johnston and to carmen wong ulrich and greg.
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greg and david, you guys come back at another time. i'm keeping the ladies. my next guest says, we are too high to fail. as washington state lights up, are we about to be at the beginning of the end of the war on drugs. >> five, four, three, two, one! whoa! two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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white house and department of justice will react as marijuana remains illegal and cat goegori as a schedule one law. washington and colorado were among states that had some form of medical marijuana law. with them pushing the envelope, it is possible that many people are fearing this. >> damn, all you do is smoke weed. >> that's all right. >> okay. people may not be fearing that we are about to become a nation of smokies from the movie "friday." we've seen overreaction before. a half century prior to president richard nixon declaring the war on drugs in 1971, it was alcohol triggering the moral panic leading to
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prohibition enacted on january 19th, 1920 as a result of the 18th amendment. prohibition intended to raise our collective character as alcohol was seen as the root cause of many societal evils. an $11 billion worth of tax revenue and made criminals out of once law-abiding americans. as for weeding out the criminals, organized crime thrived. by the time prohibition was repealed, one out of every 40 americans had a criminal record. the government finally decided maybe regulating alcohol was the real ticket to a moral american. >> how did we get to this level of absurdity gep? from knicks on to the dea and then there was nancy. >> not long ago in oakland, kra krarks i was asked by a group of children what to do if they were offered drugs. i answered, just say no.
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>> yes, mrs. reagan, children should say no to drugs but should responsible, concepting adults continue to be jailed for minor drug infractions? do we ignore the potential benefits taxed marijuana can add to our economy at a time when the country is still recovering from the great recession or do we enter a new era of enterprise that includes fair and measured drug policy at the table. matt welch, editor and chief of "reason" magazine, eugene jirecki, director of the house i live in. doug, i want to come to you first on this. what do you think is this new green resolution that's possible for us? >> in the county where i followed american canibus
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farmers. we are looking at at $40 billion industry when the drug war is soon. >> you pointed out what happens when you look at that with prohibition. an enormous amount of money that goes out of the system and another lesson from prohibition. the other part is about criminalizing something that is sort of an ordinary practice. >> we still have more than 700,000 people a year coming face to face with the justice system in america over marijuana. >> that should be an outrage on everybody's conscious. these are people with a criminal record for the rest of their lives. you won't be able to get a job. it disproportionately affects minorities even though they don't smoke it any more than white dudes with beards. it is a shock on our conscious. what we should be focusing on right now at this historic pivot
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point is pressuring politicians, democrats and republicans and in particularly the president of the united states who has a choice how are you going to change your enforcement policies in the wake of two states succeeding from your policy and also a majority, growing majority of americans who want full legalization. >> matt, making this point and using the language of cessation, it is the moment that makes me draw up here. i normally sit in this seat and make a pretty strong critique against state's rights and talk about how state's rights have been problematic and how important it is to have a national identity. yet, on this one, when i see the d.e.a., running in to enforce drug policies on states where you have recreational use of adults in consensual activity, it does seem like in this moment maybe i'm a state's rights fan. >> well, this puts us in a very
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strange position. they are trying to exert federal measures over the states to say you cannot legalize or pursue drug policies of your own position. compelling states like washington or colorado using the federal government to incarcerate more people. by and large, minorities are targetted and more black people go to jail. don't just do something. stand there. >> explain. i don't think that people always understand why it is that you end up with a disproportionate share of people of color and young people that are dragneted
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here. >> it has to do with the way we police. take crack cocaine. we have historically thought of it as a black drug. >> it's white. >> it is white. in use, they said it was a black drug. when i was making my film "the house i live in" i researched the crack history. the majority of it is used by white. 14% of the country is black. that leaves 14% of the country using that. 19% charged with crack offenses are black. i'm a white person that lives in a comfortable area. if you take a young black person that lives in a project, they are swicmming with cops all day long. i can barely find one when i need one. >> this has been my experience on university campuses that you end up with recreational drug use of various kintdds. nobody thinks it is a good idea to send police in and drag students out of dorm.
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we assume they are going to have good productive lives on the other side. they are sort of smoking a little weed in college, everything is going to be fine. if you are smoking a little bit of weed at the bus stop in a predominantly black community or on the street corner where you are visible, the policing becomes possible. >> in eugene's film, which is great, and everyone should watch it, makes this very clear. the history of drug prohibition in the couldn't interest i is a history of cracking down over disfavored ethnic and national minorities period. that's where this all comes from, which should give us great pause as we think about having the federal government try to enforce its own laws over the wishes of states. >> talk to me, then about the expense, the cost of this drug war to us. is there a claim here, congresswoman, that part of as we're looking at the fiscal lif as to why we should off the drug wars, it has had very little
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impact on reducing drugs? >> i usually don't try to attack what is an overall issue on to something that is happening right now, this fiscal cliff. i don't think that's the way to do it. what i will say, it's been pretty obvious that the war on drugs isn't working. we're still at work. we're not getting anywhere with it. just as where we were in iraq and we weren't getting anywhere. let's get out. so there has to be some change. there has to be some change. in california, we voted. of course, you can have a small amount on you and it's just a misdemeanor, like run ning a stp sign. we also put in a law for medicinal marijuana. i was for it. i've been for it. my mother-in-law died of cancer. she could have used it, for example. at the time, i said, it also gives us an opportunity to do the pilot project of how do you do this? do you collect taxes on it? what's the local regulation?
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how do you sell it, et cetera? the unfortunate thing of the experience in california is that the federal government has come right in the middle of it. it has gone to landlords and said, listen, if you don't get these additional marijuana places out, we're going to take over your asset. this is a cost on drugs and that's it. i have said to the federal government, to president obama, get out of this. let us take a look at how this works. let us see if we can do it the right way. then, maybe we expand it. certainly, washington has taken it much, much further. but i think it's important that we try new ways in which to handle this, certainly from an economic standpoint. we shouldn't be spending all that. our prisons are full. even in california, we're beginning to let go of these drug users earlier because we can't afford it and because they are least likely to be -- in fact, when we put them in, they
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become criminals inside because of the systems. i have said to president obama, why don't you let us work this out and see what it can look at. >> this is the claim of states as laboratories of experiments and policies. we have california with medicinal and the state of washington with recreational. this is the time for them trying to think about how to do it in their state. >> here is a statistic. california collected $100 million in sales tax from the small medical cannabis, legal, above-ground industry. the vast majority of farmers in california, from following them, are not yet in that above-ground market. so when we're really fully taxing it, we are talking about a significant, significant economic boost for the country nationwide. >> that is a claim i think a lot of governors would appreciate. we're going to stay on this topic. up next, how vice president, joe
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that's a scene from eugene
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jerecki's "the house i live in." the vice president is the same man that coined the term drug czar and has been tough on drug policy throughout his career. his hard line stance or moral authority approach to drug policy that has prevailed through 40 years plus maybe why last year, nearly 758,000 people were arrested for a marijuana law violation. 86% of them for possession only. and why drug offenders account for nearly half of the overall federal prison population. so, yes, the billions of dollars spent san ulannually on the war drugs is having results. are they worth the larger price being paid? eugene, i wanted to look at this. you are right, matt, the documentary is incredibly important. when we look at support for the legalization of marijuana, it is actually quite high in this country. right now, 51% of americans support legalizing marijuana in some form. only 44% are opposed.
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when you break that down by age, it really is about young people. it is sort of a whole generation of young people regardless of their affiliations are saying it just doesn't make sense for us to be in a circumstance where we are criminalizing marijuana. is it now, therefore, room for the politicians to start at least with that little bit of room that the marijuana piece gives us of moving towards legalization and, therefore, bringing down this drug war. >> i think the word legalization is scary for most people. it is smarter to talk about it as tax and regulate, which is what you saw in washington state. portugal decriminalized all drugs. hiv is down. the workload of the criminal justice system has dropped precipitously. the huge savings they had from that. they made one of the most robust treatment systems in the world.
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portugal's success, where america is looked at at having a very primitive policy. we took drug addiction broadly 40 years ago. instead of dealing with it as a health matter, we dealt with it as a criminal matter. our results, 40 years, $1 trillion spent. 45 million drug arrests. drugs are cheaper today, and in more use by younger people. it has produce us as the world's largest jailers. the real question for me is this is a giant human rights crisis within america decimating poor communities now increasingly while communities are being targeted for methamphetamines and over the counter drugs. we can talk about small marijuana victories, which show thats public taste has shifted. they do not want to see you
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waste billions criminalizing nonviolent people as if they were violent. >> that is the thing that makes the political space available. we are playing rick james and it is kind of silly but the whole point is that there are very real human lives at stake here. this is the sfas where finally we can begin to kind of make some room. >> there are numbers that the obama administration is acutely aware of. the number is this. more people in colorado voted to legalize marijuana than voted for barack obama. >> including 40% of colorado republicans. >> more people voteded in alabama for medical marijuana than for barack obama. that will get people's attention. it is like gay marriage. that train is not going back to the station. we are getting to a moment where politicians are going to have to ask themselves, are you going to be the one known to be the last one to burn a witch?
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>> it also comes down to empirical evidence. we need to, if it's available, we need to have -- be approached with the numbers. politicians react to good empirical evidence. remember, if you're talking politics, remember what you have. you have a law enforcement, a very powerful based group. it is very difficult to get elected in a city if law enforcement is against you. you have law enforcement squarely against legalizing marijuana. that's the viewpoint there. if you are talking politics, we have to have the information. that's why i go back to this this make pilot programs to gather the information of is this working or stnt? why is law enforcement against the legalization of marijuana?
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sort of this tough guy, i am the cop version. a lot of police officers with actually a pretty subtle analysis of the ways in which their own sort of position, particularly on the ground, is impacted by these kinds of laws. why is law enforcement so clearly against it? >> at the individual level, we all know law enforcement officers we think very deeply and highly about. police officers are incentivized in their pay packet to conduct small, petty drug arrests. they do better racking up 40, 50, 60 arrests for jacking somebody up against the side of the liquor store than they ever will if they research one crime, one murder, one rape. they might spend a whole month on that. >> that is an incentive structure that's changeable. >> it is like it is now. the cops are living in a world where they are incentivized to wait in their ray yo car and wait for petty arrests. >> i live in the border area of southern new mexico. the way the drug war is fought
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convinced me to write this book, "too high to fail." my next-door neighbor was a retiree growing 13 plants. i wake up to helicopter. i thought i was in trouble for some petition i had signed. there is a massive squad carting this old guy out to jail. a year later, the mayor of columbus, new mexico is a card-carrying cartel member to facilitate the killing down there. as well-intentioned as law enforcement is, most law enforcement i dealt with in the course of researching this book are trying to do their best. as long as the incentivizing and funding is there, it is basically law enforcement bureaucracy and prison bureaucracy we fund to lose this war. all it does is jack up prices. >> we're going to take a break. i'm kind of a square on this. it's nerdland. i'm actually a bit of a nerd.
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if he ever lets her leave again. iams. keep love strong. you know how going into this thing i thought that by day 30, i would be so sick of pot and being high and just be dying to be done with it or at least take a break for a little while, you know. but, i'm sitting here, it's 4:20, and i'm about to light joint number two. >> that was comedian doug benson, the subject offer the 2007 film "super high me." doug, who was already a pot smoker, gets clean by going off marijuana for 30 days and fires up all day, every day from morning until night for a full month. instead of feeling sick and tired, he is raring to go for more. it is good comedy. i have to tell you, the film made me feel like it was a bit
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of a cautionary tale. i also felt like he was not the most motivated guy in the world. i am sort of a nerd on this. i'm not actually a user myself, never have been. it feels like the consequence rs so enormous. >> you are talking to somebody, that i don't even drink alcohol or do any type of drugs. i'm sort of a square on these things too. we talked before about the politics. i said, you know, law enforcement is a big thing. it is another class of people. it goes back to this empirical evidence. i think, why it is important to have maybe a pilot program to actually gather the information we need to make a case one way or the other. the whole issue, i saw this in one of my best friends who was definitely a pothead. the more they smoked, the less motivated they were. a person who had everything going for them. in the long-run, ended up just hanging out at home smoking pot, smoking pot, all day long, all
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the time. couldn't get enough of it. they went on and on for years. they are now dead. that's just one little case. so you can't say but there is a whole group of people that say, look, this is an addiction. it leads to harder things. i don't know if that's true or not. again, getting the sort of evidence that we need to say one way or the other, it is not going to lead. maybe that person, is there particular personality would have done that anyway in some sense. i don't know. >> that's the moral panic that underlies that 41% that's sort of unwilling to talk about the economic benefits, the incarceration issues, right? >> i think that anything can be abused. if we take our obscene drug war budgets, cut them by 90% and spend the rest on true education and treatment-based models, the people prone to addictions, for
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whatever it is, our real epidemic is prescription pill abuse, if we can really target these educational and treatment angles, then we are going to have less examples of what the congresswoman is talking about. also, for those who are not themselves feeling connected or interested in the debate, two examples of why i still think it is important for all of americans to support ending the drug war. one is from a public safety standpoint, a public health standpoint. as a father, in my border region, again, of new mexico, the number one thing that will increase public safety is stopping the border violence. the second thing is, it is not as talked about as the social, medicinal size, north dakota can't wait to get planting hemp again. >> you can make all sorts of stuff out of it. >> biofuel. my shirt today is a hemp shirt. bio feel is a potential to really reduce, significantly
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reduce america's dependence on foreign petroleum for hemp as a pie owe fuel. >> they are talking about heroin in addition to two other kinds of drugs. use went down. ron paul, of all people, made an interesting point that one of the presidential debates, it is not the law that's preventing you from doing this. we need a law to tell us whatnot to do. if you go he to college, you are going to be exposed to pot without a cop in the room. it is going to happen. you might inhale. you didn't. other people did. it's just going to happen. that's not the thing that's stopping you from doing that. removing that law is not going to, i dent think, cause a flood of people to come in. if they do, it is a drug that is incredibly less dangerous than a drug including alcohol. >> there is a former prohibition on alcohol, it occurs from 18-21
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when you are old enough to serve your country or vote but you are not allowed to drink. we know that that is also when, in those years, we are likely to see the most abuse, when young people are kind of underground with it. we have that example right here. >> i think this comparison to alcohol is probably the best place to come to in this whole discussion of illegal drugs in this country. alcohol is, by every standard, far who are destructive to personal health, public health and public safety, than any of the drugs, even the most severe drugs on the schedule of illegal drugs. it has a track record that dwarfs the track record of heroin, meth amphedamine, marijuana, eths. we already had prohibition. we realized it was a total disaster like we have now put ourselves in again. back then, we scrambled for a new system. we regulate alcohol, tax it and regulate it. what that means is that children cannot consume it. it is illegal to sell it to a child. a grown-up can use it responsibly. if you go out and you hurt
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somebody, you kill somebody with your car, if it turns out you were drinking, that's going to be an aggravating prosecutorial factor. why is it that we take less dangerous drugs in this country like down to marijuana and treat them more severely than the incredible horror of alcohol is astonishing to me. let's unify, a tax and regulate standard and a serious educate and treatment country so we can rival a country like portugal when we should be leading the world, not following. >> i am going to let you lead this conversation on that. that's critical and crucial. thanks all the guys for coming. nobody even brought me a brownie. the congresswoman is going to come back for more. after the break, let's talk about sex. tony-award winner joins me at the table. pot and sex in one day. we are winning the culture wars. ♪ these are... [ male announcer ] marie callender's puts everything you've grown to love about sunday dinner into each of her pot pies. tender white meat chicken and vegetables in a crust made from scratch.
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time. the tony-award-winning playwright famed for writing the vagina prologues is having problems with her e-mails. every morning, she wakes up with messages that detail the stark realities women face. one in every three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime or this woman, one woman in four has been abused during pregnancy. we told you last week, a new cdc report reveals that 6.7% of the estimated 1.1 million people in the u.s. living with hiv in 2009 were young people, ages 13-24. how do we raise awareness and create ways to change these numbers? for eve insler, part of the response is to write. her latest play called "emotional creature" focusing on six young women living with adolescence and all the turmoil that comes with right of passage. it educates us on the struggles
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young women go through just being young women. we welcome the eve insler and the talented young star ashley bryant. good morning. >> i got to see td plahe play. there is an aspect that is good, old-fashioned sex ed. part of this is girls having so little information and feeling so terrified by the world they are facing when it comes to the questions of sex. >> totally. i think my experience is, it doesn't matter where it is in the world. it is everywhere. we don't talk about the things that most matter to girls and boyce. we don't teach girls what sex is. we don't talk about sex. there is so much shame surrounding it. we leave girls highly unprepared to leave reasonable and real lisz stilis stick and informed choices. that leads them to undo their lives in multiple ways.
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>> the play is constantly moving back and forth on that question of very frank talk on the other hand. then, also, this sense of adolescent shaming on the other hand. >> absolutely. i think this play is a really exciting way. we're having a lot of fun. it's really accessible that girls and boys can come and watch and learn and be informed in an entertaining, fun environment, in a safe environment, where they can take that, what they have learned from the show and have conversations. >> it is also a tough environment. i e-mailed you before i went to see it. i said, i have a daughter that's almost 11. do you think you should bring her? >> i thought, i'm not sure. when i thought it, i saw exactly, i'm not sure. some of what happens to girls in the world is pretty ugly. >> i think girls 12 and over should see the play. i was just doing the 1 billion rising tour that we will talk about. i was in mexico city. i was with one of the women
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there that is fighting sex trafficking and human trafficking which $6 billion a year industry. we were just walking down the streets. there were girls, 9, 10, 11, 12, who had been sold, who had been kidnapped, raped 60 times a day. the kind of lives of women, girls across the planet is so varied. it is all part of the same story, girls not having agency over their bodies. >> on the one hand, you have monologues, often global girls telling about horrific conditions like that sexual slavery. the very next scene might be dealing with teen pregnancy here in the u.s. and yet you feel the linkages suddenly. >> those stories, they do all connect. it is an experience of a girl. do you know what i mean? that's where they come together. >> the fun part is really the
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language of mime. the fun part is the extent of once you know something about your body, once have empowerment over it, then, the world is sex is scary, victimizing. it is kind of interesting and enjoyable and something to be explored. >> and i am in control of my body and this is for me. that's a really important message. what i do, what i this i, what i feel, who i love, it is not for anyone else. it's for me and i get to make those decisions. >> we'll pick up on exactly that same topic as soon as we come back. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf.
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bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. my short skirt is not proof that i am stupid or undecided. my short skirt is my defiance. my short skirt is not showing up. this is who i am before you made me cover it or tone it down. get used to it.
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>> that's a song called "my short ski short skirt." joining us at the table is congresswoman, loretta sanchez and personal finance expert and more importantly, mom, carmen wong ulrich. we have talked at this table before about having young daughters and the sense that part of what we are up to in parenting is trying to address these very questions. >> absolutely. i am the product. you have two latinas on the panel. sex in a latina household is nothing. don't get pregnant. i kill you. that was it. >> i got from my father, sex is good just be safe and from my mother, i got, don't you dare do anything. >> i also went to catholic school. so cosmo magazine was pretty much where i learned things. to tie it into the sense of self-worth, i have to say that,
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two, in the culture i grew up in, what i saw was beautiful women that didn't have a problem wearing certain things and wearing makeup and being strong and having some power within themselves. i think of that as a huge advantage. my daughter wants the barbies and the brats and all of that. i did too. i didn't see it as objectivy kags i saw it as this one will be the ceo and this one will own the business sg there is a great skit in "emotional creature" about barbie and girls relationships with their barbies in which they worship them off initially. >> i use to marry my barbie off to chip baka from star wars. it is part of managing images that we get as young women. >> my experience talking to girls is that the images they get are so distorted and so not about who they are. we were talking last night. i was out for dinner with my friend. we were just talking about who is growing up now in this country without body issues,
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without an norexia, about insan notions of women and what you are supposed to look like. that's connected to sexuality. if we were in our full sexual selves. we would like our bodies better and know we had agency over them and we could determine who did what and when to our bodies. so much was in the dark. we have distorted images about barbie. >> my brother has three daughters. they get together and have a kindle. next, they are watching music videos. i'm horrified. the imagery, the depth of it is so different for this jgeneratin as to how deep and ugly it can get. >> given our young ladies are going to encounter these images, one of the things we want to do is arm them with common sense, nonthreatening sex early on so
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they know their bodies and what makes sense and what doesn't. you were telling me before the break, there is this hyper locality, great state laws but it turns out funny at the local level. >> in my particular area, orange county, california, considered to be pretty conservative, over time, have been taken over by abstinence-only type of people and those are types of policies that have been pushed through. we've pushed back. we have a state law that helps us to push back. it is always -- you always have to be on top of it to see how it is really being implemented in the classroom. i understand mothers who say, hey, listen, you know, i don't want my 9-year-old to know about sex. maybe that's too young. physiologically, we know, kids are becoming women much, much quicker than when we were at that stage. so it is really about how you do it, when you do it and hopefully we have got good capsules that
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teachers can use to get that information. we've all gone through this. you are talking about playing barbies. i had girlfriends that wanted to have the best dress on the barbie, right? when i played barbies, everybody had to have a job. i was the banker. i had the monopoly. i controlled the situation. yet, knowing where i wanted to go, knowing i was going to do something with life and everything, athe age 16 through 27, i was anorexic. i still am anorexic. once an anorexic, always an anorexic. most an orexics don't live to m age. i got it because i've got curves. i'll admit it. i'm a latina. i admit it. my girlfriends were german-american, taller, thinner. my dad used to sit me down and say, you have curves. you are mexican.
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you are born that way. you are different. you can't be like them. you can't see that when you are young. >> that's the other skit i really love, where you are all there in a global on-the-web anorexia site. in that particular scene, we are all talking about from different places, talking about how our struggles with our different eating disorders. i like that piece, because it is funny and it is upbeat but it is real. >> it is real. >> i think that for me, eve, is what i so appreciated. there is a reality and a frankness. more in a moment. it is time for a preview of weekends with alex witt. we have several reports on the supreme court taking up the same-sex marriage question, including what it means for marriage equality. could it soon become the law of the land. philadelphia mayor, michael nutter, recently went to china. you might find it hard to believe the number one question the chinese are asking about.
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also, in office politics. my conversation with two-time pull itser prize-winning columnist about how he was able to get into office and one item that is supposed to make you smaert. >> the mayan calendar predicts december 26th is doomsday. >> i figure i am going to run up all my credit cards for holiday >> carmen is yelling at me. i'm not. until the 22nd. i'm just saying if earth is going to end. thank you, alex. coming up how three college students changed the lives of thousands by getting them some raises. our foot soldiers are next. can i help you? i heard you guys can ship ground for less than the ups store. that's right. i've learned the only way to get a holiday deal is to camp out. you know we've been open all night. is this a trick to get my spot? [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. save on ground shipping at fedex office.
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mara castro, heather paulson and kayla mccabe are the very
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definition of foot soldiers. these young california women are college students at san jose state university who turned a class project into an effective movement for change. their professor told them find a way to make the world a better place. so after some research, the students learned that san jose is among the top ten most expensive cities to live in but the minimum wage is only $8 a hour. the students decided it was time for a change. they learned that in san francisco the city had raised the minimum wage in 2003 and determined that san jose should do the same. they got more students involved. attended city hall meetings and met with city council members. and with the aid of their professor, scott myers lipton, the students got in touch with the south bay labor council, a group that represents 90 local unions. the labor council recommended that the students raise some money and do some polling so they did. the students raised $6,000 and hired a polling agency, which found that about 70% of people
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polled were in favor of increasing the city's minimum wage. then the unions got on board. they pledged $100,000. but the students didn't just hand off the fight. in order to qualify for the november ballot the campaign needed 20,000 signatures. within five weeks and with the help of the labor council the students had 36,000 signatures. and when they gathered in front of the statue on their campus, a san jose state alum and olympic legend john carlos and tommy smith, they raised their fists in the air, took off their shoes and marched barefoot to deliver the signatures to city hall. they didn't stop then! their coalition grew as churches and non-profits joined in the effort. and the silicon valley chamber of commerce also took notice. they started pouring money in against the campaign. the mayor of san jose was against it, the california restaurant association was against it but the students didn't stop. they kept on fighting. and they won. the ballot measure passed with
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59% of voters making san jose only the fifth city in the nation to implement its own minimum wage increase. early next year, san jose, california minimum wage will rise from $8 an hour to $10 an hour. an increase that will further continue as the consumer price index goes up. all because three college students decided to do something, not just study something but do something to make a difference. for showing how a class project can change the lives of tens of thousands, mary ra castro, heather paulson and kayla mccabe are our foot soldiers of the week. that is our show for today. thank you to eve ensler, ashley bryan, congressman sanchez and carmen juan ulrich. thanks for watching. tune in tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. eastern. we'll be looking at the supreme court's historic move take up the issue of marriage equality. coming up, "weekends with alex witt." time for citi price rewind.
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